How would you react if your boss yelled at you

  1. #1 Aug 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2011
    This hasn't happened to me (yet) but I've been victim to some degree.

    My boss has a really short fuse. He is "always right" and he won't listen. When he gets like that, he gets quite excited and will get loud. He's not very reasonable when he gets like that.

    Today he blew up on a coworker. All day long. He yelled at her so everyone in the office could hear. And each time, it got more tense and louder. He has freaked some people out. Me personally, I don't think I could let him speak to me like that. I'd prefer to quit. My coworker stayed at work to try and appease his request (to fix a report) but she couldn't make him happy. I just talked to her. She has been crying since.

    I just know, it's only a matter of time before I get put in a situation like that. He is not hard to get upset. I know myself - I would rather walk away than let someone talk to me like that. Just because you're a boss, doesn't justify you yelling and treating other people like xxxx. I resent that.

    How would you/have you reacted in this sort of scenario.
  2. This happened to me - I had a boss who would be so angry and so full of rage he would stand over the top of you and his eyes and veins were actually bulging. I stayed calm in front of him, but then would be in tears once he left. He was a bully to everyone, but hardly no one stood up to him. He owed the company, and in the end I was sick of walking on egg shells and found a much more pleasant working environment. My advice to you is to keep calm, try not to let him know it upsets you and try as hard as you can not to let it bother you...
  3. It just infuriates me that he must think he's such a superior being that he can treat other people like that. I wouldn't talk to anyone like that. I would have a hard time just sitting there and taking it because I can't stand being disrespected (been through too much of that in my life). I'd probably lose my job first and that honestly scared me because who can afford to lose their job these days!
  4. I would document the incident and then when things calm down I would request a 20 minute meeting with the manager. During this meeting I would read from my notes my recollection of the incident, and tell the manager that I did not intend to be treated in that fashion, that it was not helpful or collaborative. I would then ask him to tell me what value he felt that yelling had, then I would get him to agree that it was not the appropriate manner in which to address a subordinate.
  5. Maybe step back and realize that your boss is under far more stress than you and this is how is manifests. It's not about him being a "superior being" necessarily. Not dismissing the behavior but it usually isn't what it seems on the surface.
  6. I don't have any input -- I'm curious as to what other posters say. I work in an office environment where the bosses (CEO) yell at my coworkers in front of the rest of us quite regularly. It really puts me (and my coworkers) on edge.
  7. i had a boss do this a few weeks ago via phone. he took it out on me and my boss. once i got over the initial shock (and this was all via phone) i stepped back and realized he's using me as an outlet to yell at.

    i also started to think of other ways to better communicate with him.
  8. It really depends on the situation. The problem in this case (in short) is he made an argument to his boss to get something but he couldn't back up his argument with the reports that had been given to him. So he insisted on a 'new report' based on multiple databases and reports that had been in place for years... he asked for something that couldn't 'just be handed over' in a minute. And he flipped out.

    I am feeling tense so I can only imagine how my coworker feels this morning. Turns out, whatever he wants, she won't be able to supply without restructuring the database and the way the querys are run. In other words, he won't be happy today either. I am not looking forward to another round of yelling and ****. Yesterday really pissed me off.
  9. Sometimes I'm so glad I work for a large corporation with HR departments, Ethics departments, and our very own EEO office. I have had jerk bosses in the past and what I did was document every interaction we had with dates and times. Not just the bad stuff either, but everything. I have been fairly lucky in that I have never had to use my documentation because the managers always seem to get transferred after a while.

    In your situation, I would also document and advise your co-worker to document also. From your description, your boss put himself in a bad situation by promising something he couldn't deliver. And now he is freaking out that he is going to look bad. Sometimes it is okay to give a bully just enough rope that they will hang themselves. What would happen to your co-worker if she can't deliver what your boss promised? Can she get fired? Or is yelling the only power the boss has? Is there an HR department that she can go to? What about your boss's boss? Can she go to him/her?

    I have experience with yellers. I tend to just not react. I get very neutral and logical in my response. Repeating the same thing in a very neutral tone will sometimes work. For example, "I can see you are upset. This report will take me X-Y time to get the information you want." More yelling. "Yes, I can see you are upset. This report will take me X-Y time to get the information you want." Repeat as needed. I have also calmly told someone that I really wanted to help them, but I couldn't when they were yelling at me. And if they really needed to yell, to go ahead and I would help them when they were done yelling. I told them I was getting paid whether they were yelling or not, but it would be a lot easier to help them if they weren't yelling.
  10. If it were me, I would quit. I've never had this happen in an office environment, but it happened more than once when I was working as a teacher. The principal actually had the nerve to yell at me in front of students AND parents... for being "too nice" to parents who wanted to discuss their children(ie, not telling them they had to leave when I wasn't even doing anything else, I was going home). I quit, even though I didn't have anything else lined up and it took me a long time to find a real job after that. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.
  11. I'd curse him out for disrespecting me, I'd report it for sure to the highest authority I could report to (if he/she were the owner, I'd just be sure they knew that was the last time they'd ever do that to me because I'd quit) and then I'd quit my damn self and let it be known why.

    I don't care how much I was getting paid or if my superior was upset with me, that does not give him/her the authority to demean me and I WILL NOT have that. I was not raised to put up with that sort of disrespect and I will not tolerate it or let it slide just because someone works in a position higher than myself.

    I wouldn't want to work in an environment like that. Period. I'd be out.
  12. i wish my boss would yell at me so i have some concrete proof that he's the scum of the earth and report to EEOC or some authorities. but he doesn't. he only makes snide comments that belittles his employees. he does that to everyone works directly under him. for some reason he always does something that his staffs do and proved he does a better job. and he likes to say some very demeaning snide comments. he's not yelling and sometimes it's a matter of interpretation. i try to brush it off...but it's just gets annoying when that's someone's communication style.
  13. I've been yelled at many times because my boss was a hot-head. I was brought to tears once in a meeting with my staff and had to flee to sob in the bathroom. It sucked. I dealt with it.

    I've learned some coping skills over the years. I don't engage anymore when it reaches that level. If my staff (or coworkers, sometimes) are in the room now I kick them out before it gets heated if I can. If we're alone I tell my boss I can't continue the meeting with the hostility so I'm leaving but I'll discuss [the issue] again when he's ready. And I leave. Sometimes to screams behind me. But that doesn't bother me now.

    Honestly, how you should react kind of depends upon the situation and your relationship with your boss and how replaceable you are. That said, you should never take straight out abuse - let me say that clearly.
  14. when it comes to bullies, it's best to stand up for yourself. stay calm and tell him that you might work for him but he has no right to treat you in a demeaning and abusive way. this is a workplace and you expect him to act professionally.

    my guess is that the words "demeaning", "abusive" and "professional" will snap him back to his senses. from my experience, he probably won't bully you much after that but will transfer all his anger to other coworkers. it will still be an awkward working environment so i would start looking for another job if there is nothing else keeping you there besides a salary.

    my last boss was a total bully and i left soon after realizing it. a few of my colleagues toughed it out for almost 1 year before finally bailing. one stayed over 1 year, but she is now working from home because she gets severe anxiety attacks when she goes to work.
  15. I'm curious to know from responders and from OP, what is the size of the company you work for? In my experience, this really plays a large part in the definition of "appropriate response", strange and unfair as it may seem. To a lesser extent, what is the nature of your work/company/field?

    I've worked in companies and firms of varying sizes and know first hand how one company culture's "appropriate" is completely different than another's. For instance, when I was at a smaller law firm, when the managing partner would go into one of his tailspins and direct himself at me, I felt entirely comfortable in saying to him, "You're being a bully and completely unreasonable, and I'd prefer it if you calm yourself down before we continue this conversation." At the much larger institution where I am currently employed, that response to a superior, no matter what prompted it, would likely not go over well -- mainly because there are HR channels that you must go through to voice your displeasure (lest the repercussions come back to bite you in the behind), but also because the culture is a lot more rigid and less forgiving.

    ETA: Always, however, regardless of where you work or what is thrown at you, remain the consummate professional. Throwing your own tantrum by walking off the job or telling someone off in the heat of the moment, while intensely satisfying momentarily, will reflect poorly on you professionally in the long run.